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-   -   Anyone in Canada sent water away for testing? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/anyone-canada-sent-water-away-testing-207925/)

cklages 11-24-2010 03:26 AM

Anyone in Canada sent water away for testing?
Like the title says, has anyone in Canada sent water away for mineral analysis? Where did you send it, and how did that work for you?

The reason I ask is that I get my water out of a ditch on the side of the highway (an artesian spring to be specific), and the water seems very soft. I would really like to know how much calcium is in it, and whether very low levels of calcium might be contributing to chill haze. I do know that the water is extremely clear and the pH is around 5.5. (the beer tastes great, but the chill haze is getting to me.)

I know ward labs in the states does this work and the price seems very good, but I'm wondering if any canucks have dealt with the border, and how that worked out, or if there is a domestic lab that does this work.


Nateo 11-24-2010 03:50 AM

Noonan mentions a few reasons for chill haze: poor mash protein digestion, insufficient boil, wild yeast, bacteria, oxidation of beer, poor starch conversion. Lack of a good cold break could cause chill haze. Noonan says to chill the wort down to slush (near freezing) to precipitate all haze-forming proteins, but that's not really practical for most brewers.

If you haven't been using a protein rest, I'd try that.

ajdelange 11-24-2010 11:31 AM

Go to an aquarium supplier (or find one on the internet) and buy/order a hardness test kit. They are inexpensive and will tell you accurately enough whether your water is as soft as you suspect.

That said I and many others in this forum brew with very soft water intentionally. I have once, in 25 years of home brewing, seen a calcium oxalate crystal in my beer. It's unlikely that this is the source of your haze but based on the hardness reading you obtain you can calculate how much calcium chloride to add to get to 50 ppm calcium which most consider sufficient to precipitate all oxalate (and do all those other great things calcium does for beer and yeast).

cklages 11-24-2010 10:53 PM

Thank you very much for the suggestions. I know a guy at work who has a aquarium, and it turns out that he actually has a kit that tests for calcium levels in his tank because he has coral and they need a certain level. I never would have even asked him about it if not for this thread, so thanks a million!

As far as other sources of the haze, I would believe that there could possibly some sort of infection, although I am pretty fastidious about sanitation. Pobodys nerfect though eh? Chilling down to those levels post boil probably wouldn't be realistic, but I do cold crash and gelatin. When i cold crash I go all the way to 34 degrees for 4 days. The beer seems to be pretty clear, but somehow when I rack and bottle, that cloudiness seems to return almost instantly. I was kind of thinking maybe with more available calcium that maybe the haze would form more long chained protiens that would stay down after the crash. Perhaps I am wrong though and do not fully understand the process.

I don't think that it is starch conversion or bad cold break, as the wort going into the fermenter is always crystal clear, but I am interested in maybe trying a protien rest. I mash in a cooler, so maybe I could try a thick mash around 125, and add boiling water to bring it to 152 after a set amount of time.

Oh, and thanks for letting me know to type of calcium to add. There were 3 or 4 different types at the HBS, i knew gypsum accented hops, but I have been really happy with flavour, its just the haze i'm working on (if calcium turns out to be the problem). CaCl it is though.

Thanks again for your time,


mhermetz 11-24-2010 11:12 PM

I just called our municipal water department claiming I was a student doing a research project and would like to avoid the $60 cost to test my water.

They were able to give me everything I wanted for free and apparently it will be 100% accurate because they do neighborhood drinking supply tests. I just let them know where I was and bingo! Had my water profile.

Parkinson1963 12-06-2010 03:37 AM

Look up ALS Laboratory they have an lab in thunder bay and North Bay?.

I think the cost for general water parameters(Ca, Mg,, SO4, Cl, Na, hardness, etc is about $60

If another city just google environmental labs for your city and area.

By the way an artesian spring in northern Ontario is likely to be soft water, no limestone around.

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